VICTORY made us the top team in the NFC East, last week. Now it’s time to build on that. The giants (0 – 4), Broncos (1 – 3 (Jets)), and Texans (0 – 4). These are the teams that the Steelers have beaten. Texans by 7, Broncos by 5, giants by 10. Pittsburgh is no one to be afraid of. Especially if QB Carson Wentz gets back either WR Alshon Jeffrey or DeSean Jackson.
A win this week, keeps our lead over the division. Regardless of what our rivals do. It would also get us to .500, and give our roster a chance to feel like they’d weathered a storm together.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics will practically guarantee our Eagles this win. CAUTION: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use FT as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Steelers:
1) Jump short routes: The Steelers passing game looks almost airtight. Their best WR boasts a catch percentage of 89.5, through four games. However, upon closer inspection, it’s clear that the emphasis is to get the ball out of the QB’s hand, as fast as possible. This is why their top two receivers average just 10 yards per catch. We need to jump those short routes. Make plays on the ball. Force them out of their comfort zone, make their 38 year old QB hold the ball longer, and give the NFL’s sack leading defense the time to do what it does.
2) Trim their edges: Want some good news? The Steelers run a similar 3-4 to the one we castrated for years when the Redskins ran it. The 10 yard Out should be there anytime TE Zach Ertz wants it. This would be a great game to see the RB Screen make it’s re-appearance. They should also be highly susceptible to play-action. Conversely, this is NOT a week we want to see Wentz running much.
3) Set the edge vs the run: Pittsburgh doesn’t do a lot of WR rushing. They like to pound it between the Tackles with RB’s, which suits us just fine. Our objective here is not blowing containment on the right side of our Defense. When there is no LB on his outside hip, the RDE has to rush up the field, instead of immediately flattening down the line of scrimmage. We can’t give away big runs to this team and expect to win.
4) Fight for catches: Eagles receivers have to start winning some of these contested passes. It’s frustrating to see receivers on other teams bail out their QB, then listen to announcers chide Wentz for not delivering a perfect ball, every time. Our guys need to treat every throw like it’s their personal property. They wouldn’t let another man snatch their phone, or their car keys, or their paycheck. The ball needs to be prioritized on that level.
If we do all these things we should win, with a score looking like:
PREDICTION: EAGLES 27 – Steelers 21
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how it went.